Wearing the green jersey with pride

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“You can’t have it all, but you take the bits that you get.” These were the words of Brian O’Driscoll in Paris on Saturday night after Ireland’s heart-stopping victory over France which saw them win the Six Nations Championship.

O’Driscoll was emotional after the win.

This would be his last time playing for Ireland and he was ending his international career on a high - bringing home the Six Nations for only the second time in 29 years.

It was quite literally the fairytale ending for a player that has brought so much joy to so many sports fans throughout his career.

He was still wandering around in his Irish jersey for ages after the game, admitting to reporters that he didn’t want to take it off because he knew this would be the last time he would do so.

We’ve heard the term ‘putting on the green jersey’ used in such a derisory way over the past five years, usually in political mud-slinging, that it was striking to see someone who was actually wearing the jersey and clearly didn’t want to take it off.

Much has been written over the past few weeks about Brian O’Driscoll and his on pitch heroics and his off-pitch good manners, goodwill and generosity of spirit. But you can never say enough about someone of his calibre, a sportsperson who’s reach goes far beyond the confines of sport and far beyond the remit of sports reporters.

O’Driscoll’s pride in the jersey, his incredible work ethic, his dedication to his craft teamed with his innate goodness have made him an icon in this country.

In classrooms up and down the country, he is being cited as a hero.

And in an era when you attain celebrity status for just being a celebrity, it is encouraging to see someone who actually does something being lauded.

This is why it is important that O’Driscoll is recognised - because if we don’t celebrate his likes, we are stuck with the Kardashians.

If you google the word Kardashians today you will get 46 million results. How much can you actually say about these people? A lot, apparently.

I don’t watch the show and I don’t read any celebrity magazines, yet even I know these people exist. Have they seeped into our conscious by osmosis? Have our brains being sucked out in the process?

It’s not just the Kardashians who in fairness to them, seem to be making a lot of money out of a celebrity-obsessed, vacuous culture that just latches on this type of stuff.

It seems to be everywhere. Joey Essex, anyone?

The concept of a role model always seemed a bit prissy and goody-two-shoes to me until I became a mother.

Now I see that the type of people we celebrate and hold in esteem says a lot about who we are.

So when my two and half year old sat up with his teddy on the couch on Saturday and told him to watch the rugby, I was mightily relieved.

Even if I did have to spend a lot of time explaining that the men were playing and not fighting.

And no, he could not do that to Big Adam in the creche.

Pride, honour, work ethic, bravery and a lot of charm - sure if don’t want them to emulate that, what do you want?


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